‘Nathan Chen Day,’ Olympic gold medalist honored at Utah Capitol
Nathan Chen had been working his whole life for that moment during the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
“Absolutely stunning,” said an NBC announcer at the time.
By the time his last skate was done, it was clear Nathan Chen had won the Gold Medal in men’s figure skating.
“The best skater in the world just brought it on the biggest stage in the world,” said another broadcaster.
That was just a few months ago.
Wednesday, Chen was finally back in his hometown of Salt Lake City and some of Utah’s legislators wanted to honor him.
During a meeting in the Senate Chambers at the Utah Capitol Building, Chen was invited on the floor and was honored with gifts, awards, and a special proclamation from Governor Spencer Cox naming today Nathan Chen Day.
“He has represented Utah and America so well,” said Utah Senate President Stuart Adams.
Chen is originally from Salt Lake City and is in town because of Wednesday night’s Stars on Ice figure skating event at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.
It’s a nationwide tour of Olympic and World Champion figure skaters.
Chen is the marquee skater for the event, and although he’s been to several cities to perform, this is the first time he was honored in this way.
“Not at all,” Chen said with a laugh on the south steps of the Capitol Building. “This is the one and only, but it means the most to me.”
Utah will always be special to Chen, which is why he’s also on the committee to try and bring another Olympics to Salt Lake City.
Today is @nathanwchen Day in #Utah. Salt Lake’s Gold Medalist figure skater was honored by some legislators this morning. He’s in town for tonight’s Stars on Ice event, but is also on the committee to bring the Olympics back to Utah. We’re doing a story on him for @KSL5TV at 6:30 pic.twitter.com/LmzTdjetYA
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) May 18, 2022
“I mean, I know firsthand how inspiring the Olympics can be. Salt Lake City is incredibly equipped to have one since they’ve had one already,” he said.
Chen was only three years old during the 2002 Salt Lake Games.
Although he doesn’t remember much about them from that time, he does know how the facilities and Olympic spirit benefited him. He wants that for future generations here.
“Truthfully, I didn’t think I was really going to make it to where I made it in figure skating. So, I’m absolutely certain that there are going to be many other young athletes that will be able to achieve it so long as the inspiration and the passion. I think that’s the most important thing,” said Chen.
His future plans also include returning to Yale University and graduating in a couple of years.
He’s not sure if he will try to skate in the 2026 Winter Olympics.
For now, he’s just enjoying the Stars on Ice tour and spending time with his fellow skaters.
“Just to be able to spend time together with the cast and perform for the audience and do the things that we love for the people makes this whole journey worth it, really,” he said.
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